Uganda Cranes have momentarily ascended to the top of group E of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
This after a 0-1 win over neighbors Rwanda on Thursday.
Fahad Bayo’s 41st minute goal was all what the Cranes needed not only to win their first game of the campaign but also to have a ball into an opposite net in a major football match since the 1-0 win over South Sudan in November 2020.
The Ashdod FC striker pounced on a loose ball in the box in the match played at the Nyamirambo stadium on Thursday evening.
Despite having much of the ball for the better part of the half, the home side lacked clear cut chances and thus, troubled goalkeeper Charles Lukwago less.
After having no much threat at the hosts’ goal for more than half an hour, left-back Isaac Muleme finally delivered a beautiful cross into the area but was brilliantly punched away by the Amavubi Stars Goalkeeper Emery Mvuyekure to deny Bayo the opener after 36 minutes.
With the visitors leading 1-0, in the two added minutes, striker Haruna Niyonzima almost grabbed the equalizer but his shot went straight into Lukwago’s hands.
Five minutes after the break, yougster Bobosi Byaruhanga had a chance to extend Uganda’s lead but watched in agony as his short went out begging.
Three minutes later, Kagere missed another glorious opportunity to draw matters level missing a header after Kevin Muhire’s brilliant cross.
Haruna Niyonzima disappointingly failed to control a good through ball at the hour mark and moments later, he has withdrawn by coach Vincent Mashami.
Few minutes later, Steven Mukwala almost put the game to bed but couldn’t guide his header and went over.
The Cranes superbly managed the game until the final whistle and coach Milutin’ Micho’ Sredojevic celebrated his first victory since returning to Uganda’s coach job.
At the moment, Uganda sits at the summit of the group with five points ahead of Mali(four) and Kenya (two) who square it up later in the night.
The two sides meet again for the return leg at St Mary’s Stadium, Kitende on Sunday.
The Line ups:
Rwanda XI: Emery Mvuyekure(GK), Emmanuel Imanishimwe, Solomon Nirisalike, Fitina Omborenga, Rwatubyaye, Medi Kagere, Haruna Niyonzima(c), Kevin Muhire, Rafael York, Jacques Tuyisenge, Olivier Niyonzima.
Substitutions: Blaise Nishimwe, Muhadjir Hakizimana, Iradukunda Jean, Djabel Manishimwe, Thierry Manzi, Yannick Mukunzi, Eric Ndayishimiye(GK), Denis Rukundo, Ange Mutsinzi.
Uganda Cranes XI: Charles Lukwago(GK), Enock Walusimbi, Denis Iguma, Isaac Muleme, Timothy Awany, Khalid Aucho(C), Taddeo Lwanga, Moses Waiswa, Bobosi Byaruhanga, Steven Mukwala, Fahad Bayo.
Substitutions: Ismail Watenga (GK), Alionzi Nathian(GK), Innocent Wafula, Mustapha Kizza, Godfrey Wasswa, Aziz Kayondo, Livingstone Mulondo, Najib Fesali, Yunus Sentamu, Ibrahim Orit, Julius Poloto, Shafik Kagimu, Cromwell Rwothomio, Martin Kizza.